Christmas Air Travel With Children

Whether it’s to see friends and family overseas or to enjoy the festive season in an idyllic, snow-filled ski resort, more and more families are choosing to jet off for Christmas.

While you can be forgiven for feeling a bit apprehensive about flying over the festive period, especially if it’s your first time, flying with children at Christmas isn’t anything to worry about.

To be fair, it’s not very different from flying at any other time of the year, although do expect the airports to be busy.

More than 60% of parents say they dread flying with children because they’re worried about how they’re going to keep them entertained.

If you’re flying with your children this Christmas, check out these helpful tips:

Nowadays, most airports really get into the festive season and you are likely to find a host of festive entertainment to keep the whole family entertained. 

Some airports, such as Gatwick and Heathrow, have carol singers, children’s entertainers and such like.  What’s more, most airports will have children’s play areas, which are open all year round.  It’s a good idea to find out where these are and use them as much as you can whilst you wait to be called to your boarding gate. 

Allow your children time to play, run around and generally let off steam before they’re confined to a small space on the aircraft.  Why not grab a coffee (or mulled wine) and relax whilst your little ones have some fun?

Hand Luggage
Once a child is two years old they have to have their own ticket to fly, which in turn means that they have their own luggage allowance, including hand luggage.  Use their hand luggage wisely and fill it with a whole host of entertainment (and snacks).  Think travel games, books, magazines, colouring and pens etc.  Include a packed lunch too as many small children will graze and will want a snack - while there are snacks available on the plane they are very expensive.

Don't forget the liquids in hand luggage rules when you pack.

In-flight Entertainment
An experiment commissioned by British Airways, and carried out by Professor Robert Winston, revealed that good old-fashioned toys were by far the most popular for entertaining children on a plane.

The most popular were Play-Doh, Loom Bands, Top Trumps and Lego.

Carrying presents in hand luggage? Don't wrap them as, in the event that security wishes to inspect them, they will be unwrapped.  However, if you’re flying on Christmas Day you will want to take a few little surprises for your little ones, so loosely wrap them in tissue paper and place them in a gift bag. This way they can be easily unwrapped by security but re-wrapped and left looking as good as new.

Crackers and Party Poppers
You can be forgiven for wanting to make your festive in-flight meal a little more ‘Christmassy’, however, do not be tempted to pack crackers, party poppers and such like.  These are considered explosives and they will be confiscated.

Meet and greet parking
To avoid the hassle of park and ride and getting your little ones on and off the shuttle buses, make sure you book our Gatwick meet and greet parking.

Drive straight up to the terminal forecourt, unload your children and luggage and walk straight into the terminal.

On your return, your car will be waiting for you outside the terminal - a welcome treat if your children are tired and grouchy and just need to get home.